one more time … how to calculate the fudge factor for vert?

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  • #61107
    Jane Mackay

    Carolyn and Maya,

    One more time … can you please clarify whether the TSS fudge factor takes into account both uphill and downhill vert or only uphill vert?

    I asked this in the forum a few weeks ago in response to a reply Shashi had made to someone’s question because he seemed to be saying that *total* (gain + loss) vert was used for the fudge factor. Shashi said that yes, he adds both together, so e.g. 1000m up + 1000m down = 2000m total for a fudge factor (hike with less than 10% body weight) of 60-65, rather than 30ish if you only use gain.

    The article on here though seems to very clearly state that you only take into account the gain. (

    Here’s his exact reply to me:

    Shashi on November 10, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Jane – 10 TSS only when you have 300 m (1000 ft.) of elevation gain and drop.

    For some reason (taking gondola/lift down) you are not walking down then use 5 TSS for just the 300 m (1000 ft.) elevation gain.

    A trail close to my place has an elevation gain of around 900 m and I have an option to take the gondola back down. Here is how I count the fudge factors –

    No backpack, hike up, gondola down – TSS of 15

    No backpack, hike up and down – TSS of 30

    Backpack with 10% of body weight, hike up, gondola down – TSS of 30

    Backpack with 10% of body weight, hike up and down – TSS of 60

    Hope this is helpful.

  • Keymaster
    Coach on #61308

    Hello Jane,

    I personally only count for the uphill, many of my athletes use treadmills or stair masters, and I don’t cut their TSS for not going downhill. The biggest thing with all of these fudge factors they are made up. We have found after years of experience that this is roughly what they account for. I like keeping it simple and consistent. It is easiest to remember to add 10TSS for every 1,000ft, add 10TSS for 10% of body weight etc…It is easy to get into the weeds with these sorts of things.

    With that being said, as long as you are personally consistent with them, you will be getting accurate data. I hope that helps!

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